Attack on students is attack on soul of the nation, says Priyanka Gandhi

She sits on dharna in solidarity with JMI varsity students

December 16, 2019 10:01 pm | Updated 10:01 pm IST - New Delhi

On the front line: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra leaving after a protest at the India Gate on Monday.

On the front line: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra leaving after a protest at the India Gate on Monday.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said here on Monday that “an attack on students is an attack on the soul of the nation.” She was speaking after sitting on a two-hour symbolic dharna in solidarity with the students of Jamia Milia Islamia and others protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

In a separate statement, Congress president Sonia Gandhi accused the government of “declaring a war against its own people”, and alleged that the writers of the “script of polarisation were Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah”.

“The government has attacked the Constitution and the students have been attacked. And they are our future. This is an attack on the soul of the nation,” Ms. Gandhi said after her protest at the India Gate.

Right to protest

“The youth are the soul of India. They have a right to protest. They have a right to raise their voice and this right has been given by the Constitution. When the government barges into the university... I am a mother and these students would be of my children’s age, it hurts the entire country. We are a democracy and not a dictatorship.”

“We will fight for the Constitution, we will fight against dictatorship and we stand with the students,” she said. “He [Prime Minister Narendra Modi] should speak about the economy and the atrocities that women face every day and what happened to the students.”

The Congress general secretary’s remarks came when she was asked to respond to Mr. Modi’s comment on Saturday at a Jharkhand election rally that one could make out “who were behind the protests from their dress.”

Every Congress worker will fight to protect the Constitution, Ms. Vadra said while describing the CAA as “anti-Constitutional”.

Senior Congress leaders, including Ahmed Patel, A.K. Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Ambika Soni, were among the leaders who reached the protest venue.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “The CAB & NRC are weapons of mass polarisation unleashed by fascists on India. The best defence against these dirty weapons is peaceful, non violent Satyagraha. I stand in solidarity with all those protesting peacefully against the CAB & NRC.”

‘Creator of violence’

Coinciding with the party’s offensive on CAA, Ms. Gandhi accused the Modi government of being the “creator of violence and divisiveness”.

“A government’s job is to maintain peace and harmony, deliver governance and protect the Constitution. But the BJP government has declared a war on its own people. It has become the creator of violence and divisiveness. The government has pushed the country into an abyss of hatred and made the future of youth uncertain,” she said.

“When youth power awakens, it gives rise to a new wave of change. Police brutalities on the youth and students will prove to be the beginning of the end of the Modi regime,” added the Congress chief.

Referring to the protests and unrest in Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya, the Congress chief said the Home Minister could not muster the courage to go to the Northeast and pointed out that the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister and the Japanese Prime Minister postponed their visits.

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